Pausing to review your medicine routine
Taking a number of different medicines can be complicated. Medicines come in many different forms, often with different instructions, and you might need to take them at different times. A Home Medicines Review with your doctor and pharmacist can help make your medicine routine less complicated, easier to manage, and better fit in with day-to-day life.
A Home Medicines Review is a service funded by the Australian Government to help you get the best from your medicines. At a Home Medicines Review, the pharmacist asks you to walk them through your day and talk about each medicine you use and how you take it. After the Home Medicines Review, your doctor will talk with you about any changes that might be of benefit to you.
Answer the questions below and talk to your doctor to see whether you might benefit from having a Home Medicines Review
Do you understand why you have been prescribed each of your medicines?
The pharmacist can help clarify why you are taking each of your medicines and identify whether any might require review. Some medicines are meant to be taken only for a set length of time or for a specific symptom.
Do you take your medicines three or more times a day e.g. do you take medicines in the morning, at midday, and before bed?
The pharmacist can help you work out whether your medicine routine can be made less complicated or fit in with your lifestyle better. They can help you to fill out the My medicine routine forms. In most cases, medicines can be taken on two occasions per day. A complicated medicine routine can make it hard to remember to take all of your medicines.
Do you have a complete list of your medicines?
Often a complete list of your medicines is not available to your doctor and everyone involved in your health care. At the Home Medicines Review the pharmacist can help create a list of all your medicines. Bring this list to your appointments. For further information visit: www.nps.org.au/topics/how-to-be-medicinewise/managing-your-medicines/medicines-list
Do you cut any of your tablets e.g. in halves or quarters?
The pharmacist can give you advice about whether the medicine is suitable for cutting or if other options are available. A tablet may be available in a different form or if you have to cut a tablet, a cutting device can help.
Do you have your medicines stored in multiple places e.g. in the bathroom cabinet, on the bedside table, in your handbag, or in the car console?
The pharmacist can let you know whether any of your medicines have particular storage requirements. Some medicines need to be kept in a secure place and out of the reach of children. Some medicines need to be kept at a certain temperature or in their original packaging for the ingredient to remain effective. For example thyroxine needs to be kept in the fridge and in the original blister strip.
Do you use non-prescription medicines e.g. bought from the supermarket, pharmacy, health food store or online?
At the Home Medicines Review, the pharmacist will note down all the medicines you use and inform your doctor. Your doctor and everyone involved in your health care team need to know about all the medicines you are taking (such as vitamins, creams, eye drops, laxatives and medicines, even if you don’t use them every day). Some of these can interact with your prescribed medicines.
Are there any of your currently prescribed medicines that you would prefer not to use?
The pharmacist can highlight to your doctor any medicines that you would prefer not to use. Over time, what is most important to you about your health, treatment or medicines might have changed. Always talk to your doctor before stopping, starting or changing any of your medicines.
Are the directions for taking any of your medicines confusing?
The pharmacist can help clarify the directions for each of your medicines. Each medicine can have a different direction, which can make it confusing to know when and how to take it.
Answer the questions in this brochure and bring it with you to your next doctor’s appointment. Talk to your doctor about whether you might benefit from having a Home Medicines Review.
The pharmacist can go through each of these questions with you at their visit.
Having a Home Medicines Review – What to expect?
You, a family member, carer, nurse, pharmacist or your doctor may suggest a Home Medicines Review.
If you and your doctor agree to a Home Medicines Review, your doctor writes a referral to a specially trained pharmacist (known as an accredited pharmacist). Your usual community pharmacist could have this training; otherwise another pharmacist can conduct the review.
The pharmacist contacts you to organise a suitable time and place for the Home Medicines Review (usually your home). There is no cost to you for the service.
At the Home Medicines Review you and the pharmacist discuss all the medicines you are taking. If you wish, please have a family member, friend or carer present. Answer the questions in this brochure and ask the pharmacist to go through them at their visit.
Following the visit the pharmacist sends a summary with suggested changes to your doctor.
Make a specific appointment with your doctor to discuss the Home Medicines Review. You and your doctor will discuss whether any changes could be of benefit to you. Your doctor can give you a written Medication Management Plan.